CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: A local news and opinion broadcaster in Bislig City, Surigao Del Sur was killed while his woman companion was wounded in an ambush near his residence on Tuesday night.
Broadcaster Christopher Iban Lozada, 29, died on the spot, while his live-in partner Faith Tuyco Indog, 19, was wounded and is now undergoing treatment in Bislig’s Andres Soriano Hospital.
Lozada, reportedly a fearless broadcaster, hosts the news cum commentary program “Kuskos, Batikos” (Thrum, Thump) radio program in Bislig’s Prime Broadcasting Network.
Initial investigation showed Lozada was driving home in his Toyota Vios (LGY 124), with Indog when unidentified gunmen waylaid them at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday shortly before they got home in Coleto, Bislig City.
Police said the gunmen on board a van were armed with high-powered firearms and appeared to have waited for Lozada near his residence. They then opened fired just as they saw the victim’s vehicle approach.
Lozada was said to have received death threats and posted on his Facebook account on October 15: “I’m not an activist; I don’t look for controversy. I’m not a political person, but I’m a person with compassion. I care passionately about equal rights. I care about human rights. I care about animal rights.”
He was the sixth broadcaster killed in Surigao since 2009 and the fifth media man killed under President Rodrigo Deterte’s administration.
Lozada was the sixth broadcaster killed in Surigao since 2009 and the fifth media man killed under President Rodrigo Deterte’s administration.
The fourth to be killed under Duterte’s watched was Leo Diaz, 60, a correspondent of Balita, a Manila-based tabloid, and an opinion writer of a community newspaper in Sultan Kudarat.
Also a former policeman, Diaz wrote stories on corruption and was a staunch supporter of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and illegal gambling.
Other members of the media killed under the Duterte administration were Larry Que of Catanduanes on December 19, 2016; Mario Contaoi, radio announcer and environmental activist of Ilocos Sur on January 6, 2017; Rudy Alicaway, anchor of government-run dxPB Radio in Zamboanga del Sur last August 6.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Wednesday condemed in the strongest possible terms the killing of Lozada.
PTFoMS issued a red-flag letter to Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro dated October 24 in response to the complaint filed by Lozada alleging that he was being threatened by the mayor.
According the broadcaster, the mayor sent a text message to him saying “to leave Bislig if you do not want to die” and “he would step down with Lozada who will go to the cemetery since his days are numbered.”
But Lozada was killed before the letter could reach Navarro.
As a matter of policy, PTFoMS presumes Lozada’s death as a media killing and falls under its mandate in relation to Administrative Order No. 1 of Duterte to protect the life, liberty, and security of media workers.
USec. Jose Joel Sy Egco, PTFoMS executive director, instructed Supt. Eder Collantes of the Philippine National Police Task Force Usig of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management to immediately conduct a probe on the killing and file update on their investigation.
WITH JING VILLAMENTE AND EJ GOMEZ